Nine-day Hindu festival of Navaratri to be celebrated in Ilford

One of the most important festivals in the Hindu calendar, which worshippers believe will help them attract success in all aspects of life, begins tomorrow.

The Ilford Hindu Centre, Cleveland Road, Ilford will begin the nine-day celebration of the Festival of Navaratri, which symbolises the triumph of good over evil.

Navaratri, which means “nine divine nights”, is observed twice a year, once at the beginning of summer and again at the start of winter.

The centre will began the festival with the ritual of Pooja which involves sowing barley seeds into a pot of mud while prayers are offered for the protection of health and property.

The pot will be kept in front of the Mother Goddess, Durga, until the end of the ninth day when the shoots will be distributed among the worshippers for good luck.

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Secretary Vijay Khetarpal said: “Due to changes in nature, our bodies and minds undergo a considerable change which is why we worship the divine power to bestow upon all of us enough power to maintain balance.

“Most worshippers observe a fast which on the eighth day is broken, traditionally known as Durgashtami.”

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The Hindu festival is divided into three sets of three days.

During the first three days the focus is on the mother in order to destroy all impurities, vices and defects.

The second part of the festival is where the mother is adored as the giver of spiritual wealth and the final three days will be spent worshipping the goddess of wisdom, Saraswati.

Mr Khetarpal added: “In order to have all-round success in life, we seek the blessings of all three aspects of the divine femininity, hence the length of the festival.”

Hinduism is the only religion in the world which has emphasised to such an extent the motherhood of God.

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